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From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 2

Though this series entry moves somewhat slowly, newly discovered mysteries about this fantasyland's history—not to mention...

Intelligent and thoughtful Elisa must negotiate diplomacy, religion and personal desire.

Her Majesty Queen Lucero-Elisa became sole ruler of Joya d'Arena through luck (both good and bad), wise strategic decisions and the holy magic of the Godstone embedded in her navel (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, 2011). Keeping her kingdom, on the other hand, will require diplomacy, political acumen, mercy—and deception. Elisa must fight everything from assassination attempts to rioting mobs, all while defending her country against the terrifying foreign sorcerers with "pale peach" skin and "hair the syrupy gold of honey," who only recently brought fiery destruction on her nation's capital. Elisa, deeply pragmatic and deeply religious, is required repeatedly to make intelligent, unselfish choices for the good of her nation. The lush details of this magical world are thoroughly intertwined with the profound religious faith of both heroes and villains, where each revelation leads to a crack in Elisa's worldview. Those who find no YA fantasy complete without a steamy romance will be thrilled by Elisa's growing passion for her best friend and closest adviser—who is, of course, completely off-limits.

Though this series entry moves somewhat slowly, newly discovered mysteries about this fantasyland's history—not to mention the torments of unresolved sexual tension—will have readers clamoring for volume three . (Fantasy. 13-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-202651-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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Despite the well-meaning warmth, a wearying plod.

Can a 17-year-old with her first girlfriend prevent real-life folks from discovering her online fandoms?

Cass is proudly queer, happily fat, and extremely secretive about being a fan who role-plays on Discord. Back in middle school, she had what she calls a gaming addiction, playing “The Sims” so much her parents had to take the game away. Now, turning to her role-play friends to cope with her fighting parents, she worries that people will judge her for her fannishness and online life. To be fair, her grades are suffering. And sure, maybe she’s missed a college application deadline. Also, her mom has suddenly left Minneapolis and moved to Maine to be with a man she met online. But on the other hand, Cass is finally dating her amazingly cute longtime crush, Taylor. Pansexual Taylor is a gamer, a little bit punk, White like Cass, and so, so great—but she still can’t help comparing her to Rowan, Cass’ online best friend and role-playing ship partner. But Rowan doesn’t want to be a dirty little secret and doesn’t see why Cass can’t be honest about this part of her life. The inevitable train wreck of her lies looms on the horizon for months in an overlong morality play building to the climax that includes tidy resolutions to all the character arcs that are quite heartwarming but, in the case of Cass’ estranged mother, narratively unearned.

Despite the well-meaning warmth, a wearying plod. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-06-324332-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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